Witnessing the worst drop in sales in the last 19 years, PC sales have declined 14% in the first quarter of this year. Industry experts see the increased use of smart phones and tablets as the main reason, along with negative reviews of Windows 8 contributing to the decline in shipments.
The first quarter of 2013 saw a decrease in market share for all major vendors including HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer Group and ASUS. Compared to the first quarter of 2012, the first quarter of this year has seen a staggering 14% decrease in overall market share. On the other hand, tablet and mobile phone sales continued to increase and are forecasted to grow consistently in the upcoming years.
What does this mean for Healthcare IT?
A reduction in PC sales means that consumers are now buying alternative devices such as smart phones, tablets and ultra-thin laptops. The increase in usage and availability of these alternate devices suggests that PCs are on the road to becoming obsolete. It means that the next generation of consumers will have portable computer systems instead of personal computers.
This rise in portability gives credence to the fact that we are in an age where information sharing is constant and holds no geographical boundaries. Consumers thoroughly review any product or service they are about to purchase on the internet using their portable computer systems. Consumers share their location with others while they are travelling. They also use these computers to search for and consult doctors; and find out possible treatment options.
Healthcare as an industry is trending towards increased patient engagement, which entails better accessibility of medical records, increase in accountability so that patients have more say in the use of their personal information, safety and sharing of information in an interoperable manner. This trend has lead to the emergence and usage of electronic devices as a means to gain access and share information by patients and doctors alike.
A decline in the sales of PCs will lead to patients using alternative devices to access their electronic medical records. Patients will use features of Patient Portals to have constant access to personal health information, be reminded about important dates through warnings and alerts; detailed medication instructions and access to lab results, radiology reports and procedural information.
Doctors will use their tablets to look at and update Electronic Health Records. They will use that information to send claims to insurance companies. Through Remote Patient Monitoring Technologies, doctors will effectively be able to care for patients without having to monitor them in the same room just like patients will be able to view their lab results at home.
Even though the news of declining PC sales does not bode well for computer technology vendors, it certainly shows us the way in which healthcare information technology is going forward. It is instrumental for the healthcare community to move side by side with trends in technology and avail its benefits which can lead to quality care provision and patient safety.